By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
The Adventure Club
Winner for: Radio Program That Plays Local Music
Sunday nights offer little to look forward to but Six Feet Under and, for the past nine years, The Adventure Club on 102.1 KDGE. Every week, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Edge loses its Clear Channel-y vibe and lets a DJ make your day, offering up the kind of music freaks and geeks seek out and own. Captain at the Adventure Club helm, Josh Venable will throw on Bright Eyes, follow with the once local Pennywhistle Park and let the ghoulishly romantic Nick Cave take the audience to commercial. No other radio show so effortlessly dishes up Idlewild and the Libertines and Ash alongside locals such as Eisley and Panda and Taylor Reed, and maybe even a little Kermit the Frog (really, as in "The Rainbow Connection"). Venable has taken his share of criticism over the years, but in defense of the only DJ we could call "shy," he supports local music on the air and in person. He goes to shows, stays for the whole gig and if he approves, adds it to the AC playlist and supports the hell out of it. That's the dedication an audience should expect from their musical tour guide. --M.M.
Reverend Horton Heat
Winner for: Rockabilly/Roots
I'm sorry I said this about the Reverend Horton Heat's 1998 album Space Heater: "Honestly, it took me three tries before I even got halfway through, but it took only once to realize it wasn't really worth it." I'm even sorrier I said this about the group's 2000 album Spend a Night in the Box: "The Reverend Horton Heat has been going downhill for so long, it's difficult to remember exactly what made the band worthwhile in the first place. And, obviously, they don't remember either, or else they might have hit the brakes before landing at the bottom, which is exactly where the group has ended up with Spend a Night in the Box." And saying in one of my Scene, Heard columns that Jim Heath tried to find us at Trees one night so he could put his fist against my face, and not in a nice way--well, that was pretty inexcusable, especially since it wasn't true. There's much more I'd like to apologize for regarding my treatment of Heath and the band that carries his stage name, but those are the main three. Or, at least, those are the three I can remember off the top of my head.
Bottom line, Jim Heath is one of the last links remaining to the old Deep Ellum, back when it was dangerous and daring, a little slice of NYC just off downtown, instead of a sea of roof decks and dollar-drink specials. He's always been one of Dallas' best ambassadors, taking that knives-out feeling with him everywhere he goes. The group's on the road from now until August without a break, supporting its latest album, Lucky 7, which, by the way, contains a de facto tribute to those old days, "Loco Gringos Like a Party." It's no coincidence that it's the band's best record in years.
If you think I'm setting up the Rev so I can knock him down again, don't sweat it; we've already made our peace with him. Not that it was our idea. Heath called us late last year, out of the blue, and we had a come-to-Jesus meeting. Specifically, he wanted to know why I hated him. I explained that I didn't, all evidence to the contrary aside. And even if I did, in fact, hate him, there was no chance of that feeling continuing after Heath's phone call. Just by picking up the phone, he proved who was the better man. We hung up, agreeing to a fresh start. With that in mind, I did, I can admit now, say some things in the heat of the moment, words you can't really take back once they appear in black and white. All I can do is apologize. Maybe I was a little angry because the Rev's later albums (Spend a Night in the Box, Space Heater, It's Martini Time) didn't live up to the earlier ones (Smoke 'em if You Got 'em, The Full-Custom Gospel Sounds of...), and how could they? Looking back, if the group lost a step over the years, it was one they had to give. --Z.C.
Winner for: Blues
Deep Ellum, the section once known for its hometown and just-passing-through blues legends and the dives and juke joints that housed them, is now home to precious little blues music. There are the weekly jams, the occasional concerts and a cast of Stevie Ray Vaughan-a-bees. But luckily the "ringmaster of the blues jams" is also a master of the blues as a history and a performance art. Calling himself Hash Brown, Brian Calway plays literally dozens of shows a month, including every Tuesday at The Bone on Elm Street in Deep Ellum, every Wednesday (and, in April, every Sunday) at Hole in the Wall on Harry Hines Boulevard. And those are just the jams he hosts. In addition, there are gigs alone and with The Browntones, plus recording albums on his own and session work for other musicians. After all that, he's become a bit of a legend on his own. Hash Brown once gave a 15-year-old named Todd Deatherage a chance, and was repaid when Deatherage named his own band the Calways after his mentor. Not bad for a pale-skinned Yankee who found his niche in Deep Ellum. --S.S.